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China's summer travel bookings expected to peak earlier than usual
China Daily
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China's summer travel bookings expected to peak earlier than usual

Amid China's optimized visa policies and people's growing desire to explore new places and cultures, summer travel bookings are expected to peak earlier than usual this year, according to tourism agencies.

The summer holiday period in the country typically starts in early July and continues until late August, but several online platforms such as the travel portal Tuniu are anticipating a surge in bookings by late June.

According to a report released recently by global travel service provider Group, as of June 6, bookings to overseas destinations had nearly doubled compared with the same period last year, while bookings to domestic destinations also saw a remarkable increase.

In addition to optimized visa policies between China and other countries, prestigious international sports events such as the Olympic Games in Paris, France, and the UEFA European Championship, or Euro 2024, across 10 cities in Germany are expected to drive the growth of outbound tourism this summer.

Online travel agency Qunar said the monthlong soccer tournament, which started on Friday and concludes on July 14, has made Germany and other European countries with celebrated soccer teams, such as Italy, France and Spain, hot favorites among Chinese travelers.

Hotel bookings to Berlin and Munich, two of the Euro 2024 host cities, have surged 400 percent and 300 percent year-on-year on the platform, Qunar said, adding that bookings to Italy, France, Spain and the United Kingdom have witnessed either twofold or threefold growth year-on-year.

Travel portal Tuniu said that while bookings for countries in Europe, Africa and Central Asia are steadily increasing, nearby overseas destinations such as Japan, Thailand and Singapore continue to remain top summer choices among users on the platform. reported a significant increase in visa applications for long-distance destinations such as the United States, the UK, Australia, Canada and France. Half of its customers have applied for visas to such destinations so far this year, compared with less than a third last year.

Industry insiders also expect considerable growth in inbound tourism over the summer holiday period thanks to China's friendly entry policies for foreigners.

In its latest goodwill gesture, China announced on Monday that it is extending its 15-day visa-free entry and stay policy to Australia. Within half an hour, searches for trips to the Chinese mainland made by Australian travelers increased 80 percent on, according to the group.

The travel company added that Australia is the fifth-largest source of travelers to China as of this year, with trip bookings to the mainland surging 155 percent year-on-year.

While long-distance travel remains a popular choice this summer, domestic destinations such as scenic areas in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region are also drawing tourists, according to travel agencies.

According to the report, the hit Chinese drama titled To the Wonder, which features breathtaking grassland views in Xinjiang's Altay, has made the region a popular summer choice among domestic travelers. Xinjiang's cooler climate and ethnic diversity are acting as tourist magnets as well.

"The region's Ili Kazak autonomous prefecture has seen its summer travel bookings increase 85 percent. ... Tours lasting eight to 10 days are the most popular ones," the report said.

Yang Nan, 34, who works at a human resources company in Beijing, said she has planned a seven-day family vacation to Xinjiang in late July.

"We will first stay in Urumqi, the region's capital city, for two days and then go to Altay," Yang said, adding that she was eager to travel to the extreme northwestern region to escape the scorching heat in Beijing.

China DailyGu Yetao

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